Kuwait’s Abdul Al Salem Cultural Centre is a design delight

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Many associate Kuwait with oil. That is what it is first known for and that is what brought war to the Arabian state in the early 1990s. Kuwait in Western Asia bordering to Iraq and Saudi Arabia has a lot more to offer. It is especially versed in the arts and it is the founding country of the modern arts movement on the Arabian Peninsula.

The 30 art galleries and multiple arts festivals are a testament to that but were not enough. Since the end of 2017, Kuwait City also has one of the largest museums in the world: Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre (ASCC). With 22 galleries and 1,100 exhibits housed in six buildings over 127,000 square meters it is a museum district where art and culture lovers can get lost for (almost) days.

ASCC comprises of the Museum of Natural History, Science Museum, Museum of Islamic History, Space Museum, Fine Arts Centre, and a theatre. It’s adjacent to the award-winning Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre (JACC) or popularly known Kuwait Opera House and has taken home a prestigious award itself.

100 leading figures from world’s leading architecture and design community assembled for the annual ABB LEAF Awards and honored ASCC as the best Public Building of the Year in 2017. That is not taken lightly, as all of the shortlisted and winning projects at the LEAF Awards set the standard and benchmark for the design industry.

Apart from the temporary and permanent world-class exhibits, installations, and artworks, the ASCC architecture confirms its uniqueness. The buildings and walkways are using a solar shade canopy that is 200 meters long and has a 30 meters cantilever to provide shade and controls the climate.

For the evenings, the inverted structure allows the installation of 2,000 LED-lit shingles which were parametrically designed and DMX controller-linked to turn into magnificent light shows.

The buildings’ exterior cladding and roof paving are Skyline Stone that is beautifully adorned with Islamic patterns. The true marble stone from Turkey has defined vein orientation in the quarry strata that meet the technological and aesthetic characteristics the lead architects, designers, and engineers from SSH were looking for.

The construction of ASCC was a mega-project with lots of international collaboration that resulted in a number of buildings around a courtyard that gives rise to the spirits of the arts and culture. The purpose of ASCC is to develop local talent and open a platform for their work that it can also be appreciated internationally.

The ASCC in Kuwait City delights arts and culture lovers with its vast offering. It is one of the biggest museum districts in the world.

At the same time, ASCC brings world-class art, history, science and more to the heart of Kuwait City.

More world-class ABB LEAF buildings: Skywells, China and mobile medical farm, Spain.

Source: photos are courtesy of v2com, SSH and ASCC.

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